Wilkinson: Bo­gie has the pace to com­pete

Motor Sport News - - Rally News -

CA1 Sport team boss Martin Wilkinson be­lieves that David Bo­gie has the pace to com­pete at the front of the Bri­tish Rally Cham­pi­onship this year be­cause the Scot is the last BRC cham­pion in a four-wheel-drive car.

Bo­gie came out on top af­ter a dif­fi­cult sea­son in 2011 where he beat Jonny Greer, Marty Mccor­mack and the ti­tle favourite for 2016, Elfyn Evans.

Wilkinson said: “Bo­gie saw off a lot of strong com­peti­tors that year in­clud­ing Elfyn Evans. Any­body who could do that even at that time, is pretty fierce. I know Elfyn has a vast amount of ex­pe­ri­ence since then but I def­i­nitely be­lieve that David has the pace to chal­lenge for the ti­tle.”

Bo­gie tasked Wilkinson with sourc­ing the Skoda Fabia for this year, de­spite the ma­chine be­ing rare in the UK.

“I was asked by David to se­cure him a drive in a Skoda and that’s what I did. If he hadn’t have wanted the Skoda it could have been a very dif­fer­ent story.

“If that had been the case, then we prob­a­bly wouldn’t be run­ning David. It was through my con­tacts that I was able to get a Skoda.”

Ilast saw David Stokes on a wet and windy Epynt last July. He opened the win­dow of his truck and of­fered a suit­ably rude greet­ing, which in­cluded be­rat­ing me for miss­ing the pre­vi­ous round of the BHRC while on hol­i­day.

Later that day, I was at Bam­ford’s for the penul­ti­mate stage of the rally and David’s fa­mil­iar Es­cort Mk1 cruised into view at a much re­duced pace. Bro­ken gear­box and limp­ing to ser­vice, I thought. How­ever, the truth was that David was phys­i­cally spent and did not have the strength to tackle the fi­nal stage. It was the first time I fully re­alised how poorly he was, for David was not a quit­ter.

I go a long way back with ral­ly­ing’s fastest baker. In the early 1970s when I was a lad grow­ing up around mo­tor­sport in Glouces­ter­shire, he was the lo­cal hero tak­ing on, and beat­ing, the best in na­tional ral­ly­ing.

But it was not un­til 30 years later that I re­ally got to know David dur­ing more than a dozen years of the Bri­tish His­toric Rally Cham­pi­onship. I watched him on more than 100 ral­lies and prob­a­bly saw ‘AFW 66K’ on 300 stages from Wales to the Isle of Man, Bel­gium, Kielder and Ul­ster. Stood stage-side in Flan­ders with the cam­era one year, I got the fin­ger and a big grin as he over­steered out of a square left.

His death last week af­ter a bat­tle with can­cer closed a ral­ly­ing story that cov­ered more than 40 years and leaves a very big hole in the his­toric ral­ly­ing fra­ter­nity. No one has been a stronger ad­vo­cate for this branch of the sport than David and no one has yet come close to match­ing the four BHRC ti­tles he earned in the se­cond chap­ter of his ral­ly­ing ca­reer.

He was one of those larger than life char­ac­ters with a sharp wit and some deadly one-lin­ers. But he was also a fierce com­peti­tor and, into his pen­sion­able years, could still put it across most of his younger ri­vals. He’d help any­one who needed it, but if he could get a com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage over his ri­vals, he would. He had a strong opin­ion on most things and his skills as a wind-up mer­chant were leg­endary.

When the split in his­toric ral­ly­ing came in 2013 we were on op­po­site sides of the great di­vide. But I’m pleased to re­port that things moved on and I was soon once more seek­ing him out in ser­vice ar­eas for a typ­i­cally pithy quote, of­ten un­print­able.

I spoke to David just be­fore Christ­mas and he was still ea­ger to share the his­toric ral­ly­ing gos­sip, even though his health was fail­ing. He promised to call in the New Year so that we could do a story con­firm­ing his re­tire­ment from the sport. Sadly, his con­di­tion quickly de­te­ri­o­rated and time over­took us.

Rest in peace David.

Stokes scored an un­prece­dented four ti­tles

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.